Local community councils found that 71% of people attending the Hill of Fare wind farm consultation last year were against the project.
The developer behind the giant wind farm that is set to come to Banchory recently changed its plans following the public consultations in late 2023.
Surveys conducted by the Community Councils around Hill of Fare found that 71% were against it, 18% were either unsure or neutral, and only 11% were in favour.
Attending the meetings, the local group compiled 477 responses to the question “Do you support the development”, something the group claims was not asked by the developer of the project, RES.
Throughout its four-week consultation period on the wind farm, RES said it received 380 comments.
At the time of the survey, RES was planning on installing 17 turbines, the highest of which would stand at some 820ft.
Recently the company announced that following notes from local residents the design had been updated and now the Banchory wind farm will be made up of 11 turbines at 590ft and 5 turbines at 656ft.
One member of the Hill of Fare Windfarm Information Group, an organisation that aims to raise awareness of this proposal locally, got in touch with Energy Voice and described the project as “potentially a pivotal development for Aberdeenshire.”
The member of the group, Jim Briggs, lives in Banchory but cannot see the Hill of Fare from his home.
He said: “The recent modifications to RES’s proposed wind farm on top of Hill of Fare make a minimal difference to its landscape and visual impact.
“Hill of Fare along with Scolty Hill guard the entrance to Royal Deeside and the approach to Scotland’s largest national park – the Cairngorms National Park.
“The Dee Valley is a designated Special Landscape Area with these hills on either side, and any windfarm (or more appropriately termed Wind Factory) dominating this landscape would be a travesty for Aberdeenshire and its inhabitants and visitors.”
Understanding that there is a “climate crisis” and that the country needs to adopt the renewable power source, Mr Briggs added: “It’s time to change the emphasis from Onshore to Offshore Wind.”
Alexander Burnett, Aberdeenshire West MSP said: “As constituency MSP, I have been inundated with comments on the proposed development at Hill of Fare.
“The overwhelming majority of these are negative about the height and scale of the industrial-size wind farm RES have proposed.
“Most support the use of onshore wind as part of Scotland’s energy mix, but the majority of residents have strong opinions about the placing of these turbines which magnifies the sheer scale of what is being put forward.
Mr Burnett added: “As it stands, even the amended offer is too tall, too wide and too much for residents of the communities around Banchory.”
RES responded to the criticisms, writing: “We are grateful to everyone who took the time to engage with us on our early design for Hill of Fare Wind Farm.
“The proposed site, identified due to its good wind resource and the fact it lies outwith any nationally designated landscape areas, presents a prime location to utilise cheap, renewable energy.
“Pre-application consultation is a crucial part of the development of a wind project, which by its nature is an iterative process. In response to last year’s consultation feedback and the results of ongoing technical and environmental surveys, our proposal has since been revised, resulting in an optimised scheme which comprises a reduced number of turbines and tip heights.
“Alongside the information available at our second set of exhibitions in the summer we will be inviting further feedback on the project and to inform the delivery of a tailored community benefits package.
“This will include RES’ Local Electricity Discount Scheme which could offer an annual discount to the electricity bills of those properties closest to the wind farm, something that has received significant interest.”